WASHINGTON, D.C. – At today’s House Homeland Security Committee hearing on “Reviewing Federal and State Pandemic Supply Preparedness and Response,” the Trump administration came under fire for its continued failure to help states get the resources they need to protect people from COVID-19.
Among other concerns, lawmakers highlighted the administration’s lack of a coordinated plan to deliver personal protective equipment (PPE) to health care and other essential workers during the pandemic, and slammed its decision to give contracts to unproven vendors like Fillakit — a company that was established by former telemarketer Paul Wexler, who has run afoul of government regulators in the past, just six days before it secured a multi-million dollar FEMA contract — to produce necessary materials for COVID-19 test kits.
A report by Accountable.US sheds more light on these failures, with internal emails between state public health and Trump administration officials showing chaos and mismanagement on the federal level.
“For months, we’ve watched the Trump administration fail in its duty to help states get the resources they need to protect people from COVID-19. Trump and his allies can’t keep ignoring the problems in their pandemic response and expecting the situation to improve. As the nation continues to combat this crisis, the administration needs to step up and help states get the supplies they need to protect Americans’ health and wellbeing,” said Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US.
The report includes details on the following:
- New Mexico sent a letter pleading for critical-need supplies after its order from the Strategic National Stockpile arrived 25% short.
- After repeated assurances by FEMA officials that it was not seizing PPE intended for Iowa, numerous hospitals in the state reported that they failed to receive items in “critical need.”
- As Georgia pleaded with the administration for just 20 ventilators, Florida sat on a supply of 5,000.
- After Georgia only received a small portion of its PPE order, the Trump administration instructed state officials to file a second request — and wait in the queue for the supplies.
- Georgia had a shipment of ventilators arrive late with no explanation from the federal government — an error with potentially deadly consequences.
- Idaho attempted to source N95 Masks from a South African distributor, only to have that shipment blocked from leaving the country after Trump announced the U.S. would block exports to American allies.
- Colorado complained about the use of the IHME model used by the federal government to guide its COVID-19 response, leading the Trump administration to commandeer PPE and ventilator orders meant for the state.